GRAND FORKS - Jessie Kongelf admitted she had no idea whether a teammate was in the area when she blindly passed the puck to the slot from behind the net.
Luckily for Kongelf - and the rest of the Minot High School girls hockey team - junior forward Makaila Anderson was in the perfect position to receive the puck. Anderson wound up and blasted a shot that beat Fargo North goaltender Olivia Pladson stick side to give the Majettes a 2-1 victory in overtime at the state tournament at Olympic Arena.
"We were all just playing on emotions," Kongelf said. "And we made it happen. We all freaked out. It was crazy."
Minot High School senior forward Angie Lothspeich, right, looks back for the puck as Fargo North’s Robin Blevins comes in to defend during a state tournament consolation game Friday at Olympic Arena.
Anderson's goal at six minutes, 13 seconds of overtime extends Minot's season one more game when the Majettes play Fargo South-Davies in the fifth-place game today at 2:30 p.m. at Olympic Arena.
"I'm just so happy right now," Anderson said. "I played my heart out and did it for my seniors."
After being stymied by Pladson for the first 48-plus minutes of the game, the Majettes scored two unanswered goals to end the Spartans' season.
"The emotions were so high at the end of the game," MHS coach Weylin Wahlstrom said. "We were playing on strictly heart and emotion. You could see it out there after we put the puck in the net. We felt it from the seniors. We could see the emotions on the bench. Those seniors needed that."
Prior to the overtime session, the Majettes saw the final minutes of their season ticking away trailing 1-0. With six seniors on the roster, it was Minot's youngest player that scored the Majettes' first goal of the game to force overtime. Eighth-grader Bryanna Bergeron deked around two North defenders in the offensive zone before wristing a shot over the stick-side shoulder of Pladson.
"We knew we were down and that it could be our last game, so we just had to play our hearts out," senior forward Angie Lothspeich said. "And somehow we got the puck in the back of the net for the first time and we just kept going."
After more than 38 minutes of scoreless hockey, North's Kari Volk gave the Spartans the lead on the power play. North's Jaimie Nielsen won a clean faceoff to Tianna Larson, who fed the puck to Volk amidst heavy traffic in the slot. Volk slid a shot five-hole past Minot goaltender Sydney Swanson for the game's first goal.
Swanson kept the rest of North's shots in front of her, finishing with 27 saves for the Majettes.
Seeking to play one last game Saturday, both teams came out of the gate looking to set the tone physically. That led to a penalty-plagued first period as eight infractions were called by the referees in the opening 17 minutes. Neither team capitalized on its chances with the extra skater.
North's aggressive style of play was its worst enemy at times, taking penalties after the whistle. Clinging to a one-goal lead, the Spartans gave the Majettes a 33-second 5-on-3 opportunity after roughing and cross-checking penalties 1:27 apart. But North's penalty kill, along with Pladson, kept the Majettes off the scoreboard. Pladson finished with 21 saves.
The Majettes controlled the tempo for the majority of the second period by winning the faceoff battle. Minot won 8-of-9 faceoffs, keeping the Spartans offense at bay. Fargo North outshot the Majettes 8-7 in the second frame, but it was Minot that had the better looks. While the Spartans shots came from near the blue line, the Majettes had a number of shots directly in front of Pladson.
Minot senior forward Jessie Kongelf nearly gave the Majettes the one-goal lead in the final minute of the second period, but her shot from the slot ricocheted off the crossbar.